[ASC-media] ANU Media Release: Lab in Lorry project wins astronomer top prize

Jane O'Dwyer jane.odwyer at anu.edu.au
Tue Oct 10 05:03:08 CEST 2006


ANU MEDIA RELEASE
News from The Australian National University

TUESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2006
LAB IN LORRY PROJECT WINS ASTRONOMER TOP PRIZE
An astronomer from The Australian National University who developed an
innovative science education program in the UK has been named winner of
a prestigious physics prize.

Dr Charles Jenkins from the Research School of Astronomy and
Astrophysics at ANU has been awarded the 2007 Kelvin Medal for Physics
by the London-based Institute of Physics (IoP), which praised his
leadership of the Lab in a Lorry project.

Dr Jenkins devised the mobile physics education truck while working for
technology-development company Schlumberger in the UK in 2001. 

"I overheard a young student describing a physics experiment that hadn't
gone to plan in the classroom, and realised that these 'dead alleys'
were really missed opportunities to explore science in all its richness
and complexity," Dr Jenkins said.

"The Lab in a Lorry project was a chance to create a mobile laboratory
supervised by volunteer physicists who could show young people that
science could stand on its own feet - that mistakes, false trails, the
unexpected, are an integral part of the scientific adventure, and that
children have a curiosity and freshness which makes them natural
scientists."

The lorry project was put together by scientists at Schlumberger's
research labs in Cambridge, England, with help from the Cavendish
Laboratory in the University of Cambridge, and the local branch of the
Institute of Physics. The funding came from the Schlumberger Foundation
and the IoP, who subsequently commissioned three lorries.

"The lorries are still touring and have had over 42,000 visitors since
we started. It's great to be honoured by the IoP in this way, but the
true reward is knowing that thousands of young people are discovering
that physics is a vibrant and fun field of discovery," Dr Jenkins said.

Dr Jenkins will receive the Kelvin Medal at a ceremony in London in
January. The award is made annually for outstanding contributions to the
public understanding of physics. 

More information: Dr Charles Jenkins 02 6125 8900, 0410 871 463
 E: cjenkins at mso.anu.edu.au  

ANU Media Office: Simon Couper 02 6125 4171, 0416 249 241

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